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Spotlight Article

The Potential For Alternative Energy in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan America Alliance
June 01, 2015

 

Last week, SAARES (the State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy) put the first wind turbine at the Yeni Yashma wind farm into operation. The first of 20 such turbines currently envisioned by SAARES, the turbine will ultimately produce 2.5 Mwh per hour and be connected to the general power supply system. The Yeni Yashma wind farm is a step toward developing the alternative energy sector in Azerbaijan.

 

Although most associate the “Land of Fire” with hydrocarbons, Azerbaijan has great potential in the field of alternative and renewable energy. Wind blows across Azerbaijan more than 250 days out of the year and energy analysts estimate that it could generate 4,000 MW. Ease of access to the Caspian Sea means the potential for locating wind farms offshore, where wind currents tend to be stronger, is high.  Abundant sunshine gives Azerbaijan good opportunity for solar electricity generation and at a potential of 5,000 MW could represent the biggest opportunity for Azerbaijan. Biomass, thermal, and hydro power could also contribute to a future Azerbaijani alternative energy regime.

 

Alternative energy is an opportunity for Azerbaijan to diversify its economy and attract more foreign investment. Since 2009 SAARES has been working on building a climate for investing in alternative energy to help Azerbaijan meet the goal of tripling its renewable energy generationfrom all sources by 2020. Success in alternative energy generation will strengthen Azerbaijan’s economy. In addition to jobs created for the construction and operation of power generating systems, increased alternative energy use will reduce the use of gas in Azerbaijan’s domestic market and boost its export volume. Azerbaijan’s abundant alternative energy resources mean it can also expand its energy exports. The country currently has good export transmission lines through Russia, Georgia, and Iran. Eventually, the energy-producing dynamo may export wind and solar generated electricity to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and as far afield as Europe.

 

In the near term, Azerbaijan continues to take steps toward producing more renewable energy. An Experimental Polygon and Training Center in Gobustan now trains Azeris for work in the renewable energy field. A waste to energy plant in Baku currently transforms biomass into electricity. And in 2017 construction is expected to begin on a wind farm near Pirallahi Island in the Caspian Sea.

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